A rash of injuries, a coach in the roasting pan, a quarterback with a turnover problem, horrendous safeties, an overrated pass rush and inconsistent cornerbacks have defined the debacle that has been the Philadelphia Eagles first half. That’s a lot definitions that no one in Philly wants to read.
While the Eagles still have a chip and a chair in the 2012 season, the realist understands that a new era is likely on its way to Philadelphia. Perhaps the biggest problem with that is that this team was constructed to win now, and even the parts that seemingly contribute might not fit into the scheme of whoever takes the job of reconstructing this ship.
Many of the pundits praised beleaguered head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman for their work on draft day. Believe when I tell you they haven’t been praised since. But for the sake of the future, which can’t get here fast enough for Eagles’ fans, lets assess the 2012 draft at the half way point and see what Eagles’ picks may play a role in any positive change coming.
FIRST ROUND — PICK 12 (Acquired in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks)
FLETCHER COX (DT) — The general consensus on Cox is that the Eagles got this one right. Cox has been a mainstay in the rotation at defensive tackle and has shown signs of the quickness and strength that were the highlights of his pedigree. He’s only averaging two tackles a game and has a one sack, but Cox has helped out against the run by his mere presence. He’s had two games where he’s registered five tackles from the tackle position. Not bad, but there’s still a ton of growing to do. GRADE: B
SECOND ROUND — PICK 46
MYCHAL KENDRICKS (OLB) — A ball hawk with speed. That’s what we were told about Kendricks. He has speed to burn, that’s inarguable. But his maturity level and his intelligence need to improve quickly. Kendricks is being relied on to cover in the passing game way too much. That cerebral part of his game, those reads, may yet come with time, but he’s making bad decisions too much for a starter right now. For raw talent, Kendricks may yet become a force for the Birds, but he’s not there yet. According to Pro-Football Reference, Kendricks has recorded 26 tackles and has defended 4 passes. They also have defensive tackle Cox defending 4 passes. Unless that’s a typo, it needs to be better. GRADE: C
SECOND ROUND — PICK 59 (acquired from Green Bay Packers)
VINNY CURRY (DE) — The Eagles depth on a defensive line that went three full games without a sack is so impressive that a kid they insist is doing great in practice has yet to smell the field in an Eagles’ uniform. This is more than likely a product of the Eagles paying Daryl Tapp $2.575 million and wanting that money on the field. but Phillip Hunt is making only $500,000. He can sit a game. In fact, cut Tapp, save a couple of bucks, and lets see what this kid is about. GRADE: INCOMPLETE
THIRD ROUND — PICK 88 (acquired from Houston Texans)
NICK FOLES (QB) — Most Eagles’ fans would anoint this kid the second coming if only they’d hand him the reigns. I don’t want him anywhere near the field with this offensive line in front of him. He literally could get killed. For his preseason work and putting hope in the hearts of Philadelphians, I’ll grade him generously, but this could really be anything from an F to an A. GRADE: B
ROUND FOUR — PICK 123 (acquired from the Green Bay Packers)
BRANDON BOYKIN (CB) — Boykin is another Eagles’ draft pick that brought high hopes, still may realize them, but hasn’t contributed to the level the Birds hoped to this point. As the kick return man, Boykin has done virtually nothing. I’m not sure that’s a position one can just pick up along the line. Special teams coach Bobby April has said he thinks that Boykin may have the potential to break one some day soon. Guess what? If he’s back there he should have that potential now. As a slot defender, wouldn’t you find a way to pick on a rookie? Well, teams have. GRADE: C+
ROUND FIVE — PICK 153
DENNIS KELLY (OT, NOW OG) — Kelly has started the last two games in place of Danny Watkins at right guard due to, shockingly enough, an injury. Being a part of this current offensive line should get you an immediate F, but since it’s unlikely that Kelly figured much in the Eagles’ plans for this season, we’ll cut him a break. He’s getting the proverbial baptism by fire, and again, teams are taking advantage of it. GRADE: D+
ROUND SIX — PICK 194 (acquired from the Denver Broncos)
MARVIN McNUTT (WR) — At 6’3″, 216 pounds the Eagles took a flyer on McNutt in the sixth round. The plane crashed. He was cut before the season. GRADE: F
ROUND SIX — PICK 200 (acquired from the New England Patriots)
BRANDON WASHINGTON (OG) — Not much of a story to tell here. Washington was also cut. GRADE: F
ROUND SEVEN — PICK 229 (acquired from the Atlanta Falcons for Asante Samuel)
BRYCE BROWN (RB) — For a seventh round shot in the dark on a running back that barely played a down at the school he came from, Kansas State, Brown has been a pleasant surprise averaging 4.4 yards per carry in limited work. Spelling LeSean McCoy, Brown has been adequate, but more importantly, he’s shown signs that he could flourish. He’s no Terrell Davis 7th round-type as of yet, but there’s always hope.
Then again, I guess hope is all this piece was about.
Pete Lieber is a freelance writer and Philadelphia sports enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter at @Lieber14.